What are the important facts about Rajasthan
Exceptional example of indigenous urban and building planning in Southeast Asia
UNESCO World Heritage Jaipur, Rajasthan
The city of Jaipur is an exceptional example of indigenous urban and architectural planning in the 18th century in Southeast Asia. Inspired by the Indian architecture theory Vastu Shastra, Jaipur was built as a planned city and combines Hindu, Mughal and contemporary Western ideas of building and architecture. In Jaipur, the local traditions of trade, handicrafts and guilds are carried on to this day. The city has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2019.
The city of Jaipur, surrounded by historical wall remains, is located in the north-west Indian state of Rajasthan and was founded in the 18th century under the Maharaja of Amber, Sawai Jai Singh II. The city is divided into nine so-called chowkris (sectors). Conceived as a trading town, the main streets of the city were designed as markets, which have been preserved in their traditional function as bazaars to this day. Their orderly floor plan shows wide streets that intersect at right angles. The most important markets, shops, houses and temples along the main streets were built by the state to ensure a uniform facade appearance.
Fusion of different cultural concepts of urban planning
When it was added to the World Heritage List in Baku (Azerbaijan) in July 2019, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee adopted a declaration on the extraordinary universal value of Jaipur. For this new World Heritage site, three of the ten possible admission criteria were considered to have been met. Accordingly, Jaipur is a unique example of late medieval Indian urban planning and architecture and testifies to a close exchange between traditional Hindu, Mughal and contemporary Western ideas (selection criterion ii). While the grid-shaped city map follows Western models, the organization of the individual city zones is based on traditional Indian ideas: in the sense of Vastu Shastra, the topography of the city resembles a mandala, in the center of which the Govind Devji Temple for the Hindu deity Krishna and the city palace of the Maharaja are located are located. Vastu Shastra is a traditional Indian architectural teaching that has existed for over 5,000 years and is based on the five elements of creation: earth, fire, sky, water and air. In its basic structure it is similar to the Chinese teaching of Feng Shui. Both urban planning concepts are combined by an imperial Mughal architecture. The concept of this city form as well as the extent and the splendor in the implementation are considered unique and trend-setting in the history of urban planning of the Indian subcontinent (selection criterion iv). With its orderly, grid-like structure, Jaipur represents a radical departure from the existing medieval cities. In addition, it is not designed as a fortress, but deliberately designed to be trade-friendly.
City of continuous craft
As a center of artistic excellence, Jaipur has a long history of arts and crafts traditions (selection criterion vi). Historically, a total of 36 handicraft industries are said to have been located in the city. Some of these are still divided into certain streets or markets and organized in guilds. To this day, Jaipur is known for the manufacture of and trade in precious stones, lacquer jewelry, stone idols and miniature painting beyond the national borders of India. The local building trade, whose renowned craftsmen maintain the historical structures of Jaipur and many other Indian cities, contribute to the preservation of the city.
Second World Heritage Site in Jaipur
The newly registered World Heritage Site is the second World Heritage Site in the city of Jaipur. There is also the Jantar Mantar observatory, which was added to the World Heritage List in 2010. The stationary monumental instruments of the Jantar Mantar were built from brick at the beginning of the 18th century, also under the rule of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. The observatory was used to observe astronomical constellations with the naked eye and goes back to Ptolemaic astronomy. It became the expression and symbol of astronomical knowledge and cosmological concepts at the court of a learned Mughal prince. Today it is one of the most significant, comprehensive and best preserved historical observatories in India. Both world heritage sites testify to the cultural wealth and the technically adept knowledge of the Mughal Empire, which existed on the Indian subcontinent from 1525 to 1858 and, at the height of its power in the 17th century, extended over almost the entire subcontinent and parts of Afghanistan.
During the 43rd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Baku (Azerbaijan) in 2019, 29 sites were added to the list of world heritage sites. In their entirety, they symbolize the diversity and breadth of the common cultural and natural heritage of humanity.
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